Victorian tiles style guide

What is Victorian style?

Named after Queen Victoria, the Victorian era spans from the 1860s through to the early 1900s. The era was known for opulence, ornamentation and bold colours. Think heavy drapes, elaborate tapestries and oriental rugs.

Whilst the traditional Victorian aesthetic can feel a little over the top for some, the classic and romantic elements can still be elegantly incorporated. The key is carefully fusing period features like traditional Victorian tiles with contemporary styling.

Being a high quality material, tiles were commonly used in the Victorian era and lined verandahs, hallways, bathrooms and common areas.

Victorian Colours

The Victorian era is known for vibrant colours - aqua, green, pink and yellow are example colours that were heavily used.

What’s interesting is that oftentimes homeowners would paint each room in a different colour, adding to the grandeur of the home.

Victorian colour palette

Victorian colour palette
Victorian colour palette available at Olde English Tiles

If the decorative accents of the space are coloured, infusing these same colours within the tile pattern makes for a harmonious finish. For example, in the below image you’ll notice that the green wall colour has been inverted into the floor tile pattern.

Inverted colour scheme in Victorian bathroom
Inverted colour scheme Green wall colour reflected in Glasgow floor pattern

If on the other hand the space is minimal in colour or your taste veers more on the modern side, opt for patterns in white, black and grey.

Olde English I pattern in Victorian Bathroom
Classic colours Olde English I pattern
Bath pattern in Victorian hallway
Classic Victorian checkerboard Bath pattern

Victorian floor tiles

Geometric floor tiles were commonly used during the late 1880s and are still a great way to restore Victorian charm to a contemporary styled home - be it on a verandah, kitchen, hallway or bathroom floor. Fully vitrified tiles were the material of favour due to their very low porosity and in turn durability. Read more about the benefits of vitrification

Simple & classic

The classic checkerboard pattern in black and white is still popular today, as are other simple and elegant patterns, including:

Lively & Elegant

If you want slightly more intricate geometry in your pattern, we recommend the below patterns:

Bold & charming

Bold patterns with highly intricate geometry and dazzling encaustics work in larger spaces and when the intention is for the floor to be the focal point.

View all tessellated tiles

Victorian encaustic tiles

Thanks to a renewed interest in Gothic decoration in the early 19th century, encaustics were often used within the design of a pattern during the Victorian era. They were commonly multi coloured, as opposed to single coloured encaustics used in the Federation era.

More recently it’s become common to create a feature floor using continuous encaustics, the Lille patterned encaustics in the below bathroom as an example.

Lille pattern in Victorian bathroom
Lille pattern in contemporary Victorian bathroom

Cement vs Pressed encaustics

There is currently a strong trend towards cement encaustic tiles in the market. Cement encaustic tiles involve mixing a coloured pigment liquid into a cement base and then pressing into a mould. The tiles are then left to cure (but not fired). Whilst this process is cheap, it results in a tile that is extremely porous and requires sealing - especially if used in wet environments.

The pressed encaustic, on the other hand involves mixing a combination of raw materials and coloured sediments, which is then hydraulically pressed into a mould at incredibly high pressures. The tile then undergoes intense firing. This results in a far stronger, denser, long-lasting and fully vitrified porcelain tile that is completely water resistant. All encaustic tiles at Olde English Tiles are pressed. 

View all encaustic tiles

Tiles with old world charm

Hexagon tiles

If you want a less traditional Victorian look and more old world charm, we recommend a floor covered in small or large hexagon tiles.

Large hexagon tiles

The combination of grey, white and black hexagons in the below bathroom add character to an otherwise minimal fitout.

Large hexagons for Victorian bathroom floor
Image credit Home Dsgn

Small hexagon tiles

Whilst small hexagon tiles were more prominent in the Art Deco era, it's not to say they can't be used in a Victorian bathroom or on a kitchen splashback.

Small hexagon tiles
Image credit Ftness Bec

View all small hexagon tiles

Victorian wall tiles

A classic subway wall tile will compliment an intricate Victorian floor and is a popular choice for kitchen splashbacks and bathroom walls.

Subway wall tiles in Victorian kitchen
Image credit House and Garden
Black subway wall tile in Modern Victorian bathroom
Black subway wall tile

View all subway tiles

Decorative trims

Decorative trims and feature tiles were heavily used during the Victorian era. Pair with a classic white, black or grey subway tile for a contemprary look with a hint of Victorian charm.

Decorative wall tile with white subway
Decorative Victorian wall tiles

View all decorative wall tiles

Capping is a nice way to frame a wall in a Victorian home, especially in bathrooms.

Capping in Victorian bathroom
Black capping frames white Subway wall
bottom of wall skirting
Contrast colour of skirting to floor tile

Victorian Design Inspiration

Here are a selection of stylish Victorian bathrooms, kitchens, hallways and paths that have expertly combined period features with contemporary styling.

Victorian bathroom inspiration

The glam feel of the below bathrooms are accentuated by traditional Victorian patterns

Checkerboard tiles in Victorian bathroom
Image credit Shellandchinoiserie
tessellated in modern Victorian bathroom
Image credit The anamumdiary
Tessellated bathroom

Victorian kitchen and living inspiration

Beautiful tessellated tiles work across a number of rooms from the kitchen to the hallway and living room.

Victorian hallway
Image credit Prime Location
The Grounds Victorian kitchen tiles
Image credit Acme & Co
Victorian kitchen and living
Monochrome colours in contemporary Victorian living room

Verandah & Path

The below pathways illustrate the magical effect of inverting a colour scheme into a tessellated tile pattern

Victorian path manchester
Victorian terrace Manchester pattern on path
Victorian path inspiration
Fitzroy pattern on vernadah and path

Choose tiles for your Victorian project

Want help choosing tiles for your Victorian home or commercial project? Not sure where to start? Reach out to one of our design experts to help today.